Archive for the 'Vegetables & Vegetarian Dishes' Category

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is an iconic dish that most Americans expect on their Thanksgiving holiday table. Originally made with canned green beans and condensed cream of mushroom soup, I took the basic elements of this classic dish and gave it a fresher, modern spin.

First, I substituted tender haricots verts for the canned green beans.

What are haricots verts? Quite simply, they are very small and slender French green beans. (Haricot verts is French for green beans.) They tend to be more tender and flavorful than the thicker American green beans. Most markets now carry them both fresh and frozen.

Next, instead of using canned soup as my sauce, I made a quick cream sauce and flavored it with some shredded sharp white cheddar cheese. (Isn’t everything made better with cheese?!)

Lastly, I tossed chopped pecans and panko bread crumbs with the classic French fried onions for a crunchy topping that makes the dish in my opinion.

This homemade version of the classic canned soup green bean dish is sure to become a favorite at your house. The haricots verts, pecans, and the touch of sharp cheddar in the sauce elevate this dish to new heights. It’s so good you’ll serve it year round!

Cheddar-Pecan Green Bean Casserole

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen haricots verts, trimmed
8 oz. button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup French fried onions
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 395 degrees. Lightly grease a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish with butter and set aside.

Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir to combine. Slowly stir in the broth and heavy cream. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the green beans and stir until well coated. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

In a medium mixing bowl toss together the French fried onions, bread crumbs, and pecans. In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir the melted butter into the onion mixture. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the green beans. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden and bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Excepted from “Simply Suppers” by Jennifer Chandler.

 

 

 

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BBQ Baked Beans

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BBQ Baked Beans

There is lots of debate of which kind of barbecue is best … ribs versus pulled pork, dry versus wet ribs, who makes the best sauce … but all agree that baked beans are the perfect accompaniment to any type of barbecue.

BBQ baked beans are surprisingly easy to make from scratch and infinitely better than what comes ready-to-serve out of a can.

The main ingredients are common pantry staples you probably already have on hand: beans, barbecue sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and yellow mustard.

Vegetables like onions and bell peppers are ways to add more flavor. I like to add a little smokiness to my baked beans and bacon is a simple way to make that happen. The addition of a little pulled pork would make it even better.

As for the beans, you could always soak dry beans but I find using canned beans is a great time saver. I like to use a variety of beans in my BBQ baked bean recipe. This simple twist provides both flavor and color to this classic picnic side.

The key to a good batch of baked beans is to let them slow cook for several hours. The extended cooking time allow the flavors to blend and meld together. Most folks cook them in the oven, but you can also cook them in a slow cooker or even on a grill with the lid closed.

You’ll find these Southern BBQ Baked Beans are the perfect accompaniment to so many dishes traditionally served during this summer. So remember this recipe not just when making barbecue, but also when grilling chicken, burgers or serving a crowd.

Enjoy!

BBQ Baked Beans

1/2 pound bacon (about 10 slices), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1 can (15-ounce) black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can (15-ounce) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15-ounce) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup light brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the bacon in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onions and peppers are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the black eyed peas, red kidney beans, pinto beans, barbecue sauce, cider vinegar, yellow mustard, and brown sugar. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and place in the oven. Cook until the beans are fork tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Variation: Want a traditional BBQ baked bean dish? Just use three cans of kidney beans instead of the various types listed in this recipe.

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by Justin Fox Burks

Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Doesn’t bacon make everything taste better?

It’s so funny to think about … but when I was a kid I used to say I was allergic to brussels sprouts!  I hated them that much!  Fast forward to adulthood … and now they are one of my favorite things!

Part of the trick is not to overcook the brussels sprouts.  They get too smelly and pungent if you do. You want them to be just fork-tender after boiling them.

The second part is the bacon.  As I mentioned before, doesn’t it just make everything better?! I like to use a really smoky bacon like Benton’s when making mine.

My friend Kelly English inspired me to come up with this recipe. He serves a version of this warm dish as a first-course salad at Restaurant Iris, his popular Memphis restaurant. I dish it up as a hearty side.

Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
Kosher salt
3 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper

Trim the bottoms off of the Brussels sprouts and slice in half.

Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sprouts and cook until fork tender, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and reserve.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve.

Pour all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the sprouts and sauté until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the bacon to the pan and toss to combine. Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: Regular bacon is fine, but for an extra bacon-y flavor, use thick-cut artisan bacon or Italian pancetta.

Do-Ahead: The Brussels sprouts can blanched ahead of time and then reheated when sautéed. 

From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Ginger Sauce

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Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Ginger Sauce

Looking for a different side dish?

Try grilled bok choy!  This Asian cabbage is in season in the summer months and it truly is delicious.  I prefer to use baby bok choy because it is more tender than the regular size. That said, you can use the larger heads of bok choy for this recipe if you prefer.

When cooking or grilling it, I find that the toasted sesame oil adds a nice flavor to this Asian-inspired dish. For a more neutral flavored bok choy, substitute olive or vegetable oil.

Drizzle a simple but flavorful Ponzu Ginger Sauce  over the top for the finishing touch!

Enjoy!

Grilled Bok Choy with Ponzu Ginger Sauce

For the Ponzu Ginger Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh peeled ginger
1 scallion, thinly sliced

For the Bok Choy:
Vegetable oil, for the grates
4 heads baby bok choy (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the Ponzu Ginger Sauce: In a small bowl whisk together the soy sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, ginger, and scallions. Reserve.

To make the bok choy: Preheat a clean grill to medium with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Cut the bok choy heads in half lengthwise. Brush the bok choy with the sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the bok choy on the grill, cut side down. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until tender and lightly charred, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Place the bok choy on a platter and drizzle with ponzu sauce to taste.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The Ponzu Ginger Sauce can be made the night before. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

This recipe is from my book Simply Grilling.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Food styling by me.

Mexican Corn on the Cob

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Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob

Every time I go to Las Tortugas, an authentic Mexican deli in Germantown, TN, I order their “Elote.” This sweet yet fiery corn-on-the-cob is a popular street food in Mexico. Luckily, this deliciously different dish is easy to make at home.

Enjoy!

Mexican Corn-on-the-Cob

Vegetable oil, for the grates

4 large ears corn, shucked

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 cup cojita cheese, crumbled

4 tablespoons mayonnaise

Cayenne pepper

4 lime wedges

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Brush the corn with the butter. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until just tender and slightly charred on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove from the grill.

Spread the cheese on a large plate. While the corn is still warm, spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise evenly over each cob. Roll the cob in the cheese, sprinkle with the cayenne pepper to taste, and finish with squeeze of lime.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Cotija cheese is a salty semi-hard, crumbly cheese that resembles grated Parmesan. Grated Parmesan or crumbled Feta are acceptable substitutes.

Variation: Want a simple grilled corn? Minus the toppings, this is the basic technique for grilling corn-on-the-cob.

 

From Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

 

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan can be made in a multitude of ways.  Sometimes the eggplant is fried, other times it is baked.  Sometimes the eggplant is served over a bed of tomato sauce, other times it is baked in a sauce.

Personally, I like it best baked in a tomato sauce with lots of cheese.

I love the texture of a crispy eggplant that is fried, but for everyday meals, frying is just too messy and who needs that extra fat?  In my version, I use Panko breadcrumbs to give the eggplant that same crispy coating you would get by frying … but instead the eggplant is baked in the oven.

Serve with a big salad or sautéed spinach.

Enjoy!

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
4 cups marinara tomato sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a shallow bowl combine the breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Place the beaten egg in a third shallow bowl.

Generously season both sides of the eggplant slices with salt and pepper. Next dip the eggplant in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off. Then dredge the eggplant through the Parmesan breadcrumbs, evenly coating on both sides.

Place the eggplant slices on the baking sheet. Bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes.  Turn slices over and bake until browned on the other side, about 20 more minutes.

Spread 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange the eggplant in an even layer in the dish. Cover with another 1 1/3 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, and cheese.  Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top.

Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 6.

 

 

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Collyn Wainwright was the first person to introduce me to grilled pizzas. It was close to 10 years ago and I still remember it.  Sautéed wild mushrooms and smoked mozzarella on a slightly charred pizza crust. Heaven!

The sky is the limit on variations you can make, but this is a good starter recipe. The smoked mozzarella and the kalamata olives add great flavor to a “not-so-traditional” pizza margarita.

You can use this same technique with your favorite pizza toppings. Since the crust cooks rather quickly, it is best to use toppings that are pre-cooked or thinly sliced.

If you choose to add tomato sauce, be sure to lightly sauce your pizza. Too much liquid will result in a soggy crust.

Also when grilling pizzas, the lid is your best friend. Use the lid to control the heat as well as to help your toppings to cook and melt more quickly.

You have lots of options for the pizza dough. You can always make you own – click here for my recipe. For a short cut, you can now find pizza dough in the refrigerated section of most markets. Gourmet varieties are available, but to be honest, that first  delicious grilled pizza I had years ago at Collyn’s house was made on Pillsbury canned pizza dough! Definitely not gourmet but definitely a great short-cut option! Another route is to pick up dough from your neighborhood pizzeria. I often get dough at my local Whole Foods store from their pizza station.

Enjoy!

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Vegetable oil, for the grates
Unbaked pizza dough, enough for a 12-inch pizza
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound smoked mozzarella, coarsely shredded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Preheat a clean grill to medium with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Let the pizza dough come to room temperature. Place the dough ball onto a baking sheet. Using your hands, gently flatten, and pull into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Brush the crust with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the dough to the grill, oiled-side down. Close the lid and cook until the dough begins to bubble on the top, about 2 minutes. Working quickly, brush the dough with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn and top with the mozzarella, tomatoes, and olives. Close the lid again and cook until golden and crisp on the bottom and the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes more.

Remove the pizza from the grill. Evenly sprinkle the basil over the top of the cooked pizza. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.


Jennifer Chandler

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